Life Advice



Alcohol-fueled abuse leaves lasting mark

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have been married for over 20 years. My wife and I have had our share of issues. I have made my share of mistakes. Over the past 18 months we have been going to marriage counseling and have worked to address some of those issues.

Over the last 12 months, she has started getting verbally abusive when she has had too much to drink. At these times, she says things that are filled with pure rage and have a stinging effect for a long period of time.

To make matters worse, when I approach her about it, she remembers none of it and I am forced to relive all of it as I attempt to describe what she said, and the effect it has had on me.

I have made it very clear that I think she has an alcohol abuse problem, and her response is to say that she is sorry, and she will watch her quantity of drinking to make sure it does not happen again. Yet, it has happened again, repeatedly.

I suffer from low self-esteem as it is, and her comments truly hurt more than I can say. I have told her numerous times that if she keeps it up, she is going to lose me, and yet I stay, as a result of the vicious cycle of my low self-esteem.

How do I find the courage to tell her enough is enough and to finally stand up for myself?


-- Verbally Battered and Bruised

Dear Battered: You and your wife are currently seeing a marriage counselor. Even though it is very painful for you to do so, it is vital that you bring up this alcohol-fueled abuse with the counselor. Your wife's drinking and abusive behavior is a major factor in the viability of your marriage. She will want to diminish it, but you have the right and responsibility to present your own truth.

You might want to create an audio (or video) recording of one of your wife's tirades. She might be inspired to confront her drinking if she is also confronted with the reality of her behavior when she is drunk, and its impact on you.

However, regardless of whether your wife acknowledges or confronts her drinking, you need to take care of yourself.


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